UK Passports, Certificates of Birth and Adoption

I’m applying to renew my UK Passport and also need a tourist visa for Russia. This is going to take several months and I might have to use the services of an agency for the visa. This is not the first time I’ve needed a Russian Visa, so I’m hoping it’ll be straightforward. But first I need a clear 6 months validity on my passport so I need to renew it.  If any member of the UK wants either to renew an existing passport or to obtain a passport for the first time they must fill in an application form called United Kingdom passport application. The form can be obtained from the Post Office. The online service is at

To renew a passport which is still in existence and hasn’t been damaged and your name, place of birth, gender, appearance and nationality hasn’t changed, you give details of your name, your date of birth, town of birth and country of birth. This will be on your existing passport so no queries created by adoption. You do not need to complete the section on your parents’ details. If you use a new photograph, this has to be countersigned and there is an additional section to complete on the form. There is also a declaration to be signed which relates to the honesty of your earlier given details.

To apply for an UK Passport for the first time, it is essential to complete section 4 with you Parents’ details. The guidance given in the booklet issued by HM Passport Office (Guidance for paper passport applications) is comprehensive and clear. You must give you ‘Parents’ details. The following information is a direct quote.

For nationality purposes parents are defined in law as ‘mother’ and ‘father’.

If you mother is married to someone else (not your biological father) at the time of your birth your ‘biological father’ is not your ‘father’ for nationality purposes. [In other words a child born to a married woman is considered to be the child of her husband at the time of the birth].

Step-parents … must not fill in their details in section 4.

When a child is adopted in the UK, British nationality can be gained by through either parent…who appears on the adoption certificate.

The section called ‘Additional questions for a first British passport application’ brings us to the question of the parents of those adopted.

Those born before 01/01/83 must send your birth/adoption certificate. Those born after that date need to send full birth certificate or adoption certificate that shows your parents’ details. (the short version which is issues free by the registrar is not acceptable).

If you were born or adopted in the UK: Evidence of applicant’s parents’ claim to British Nationality at the time of applicant’s birth. This could be parents’ British passport number OR full birth certificates of parent(s) OR  certificate of nationalisation. [I assume this means adoptive parents since you certainly won’t have access to your birth mother’s birth certificate.]

If you were born before 01/01/83 parent’s details are not required on your birth certificate.   

[I have to say that I do not find this crystal clear ie ‘parent’s details are not required on the birth certificate’ but the mother’s details have to be on the birth certificate. Not the father’s though. Before 1983 it was acceptable to cross a line through the space for the father’s name. I don’t know what is allowed today.]

The following websites are useful:

For those living in England or Wales to get replacement birth, marriage or death certificates:

For those living in Northern Ireland:

For those living in Scotland: 

I hope some of this is useful. I am about to contact to obtain a full birth certificate for my first son. My next blog will report progress.

All the website names are direct links. Click and you’re there.





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